Parneshia, Anita, Audrey and Jane: The Creative Process of Writing | WBEZ
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Parneshia, Anita, Audrey and Jane: The Creative Process of Writing

Join us for an evening of inspired exploration into the creative process with writers Anita Chandwaney, Jane Hamilton, Parneshia Jones, and Audrey Niffenegger. Produced in collaboration with Ragdale, an historic artist retreat, and the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women & Gender in the Arts & Media.

Unlike the typical "exploration into the creative process" this showcase will expose the personal challenges of four extraordinary artists as they peel back the curtain and reveal both themselves and the building blocks of their work. Hosted by Eight Forty-Eight's Alison Cuddy, the evening will include personal video, real-time artistic creation, and discussion about the context from which each of these writers construct their unique voices.

On stage:

Anita Chandwaney is a performer and playwright. She was a Ragdale resident in 2009, received a 3 Arts Fellowship in 2008, at which time she also was a finalist for Chicago Dramatists Many Voices Project with her first full-length play, Gandhi Marg, which won 2nd place in Writers Digest’s 75th Annual Stage Play Competition in 2007. Gandhi Marg’s world-premiere staged reading was with Rasaka Theatre Company, for which she was a Founding Director.  Anita’s monologue Helpline was part of Rasaka’s South-Asian American spin on The Vagina Monologues, titled Yoni ki Baat in 2009 & 2010. 

Jane Hamilton lives, works, and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin. Her short stories have appeared in Harper's magazine. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club. Her second novel, A Map of the World, was an international bestseller.  Hamilton has been a resident at Ragdale multiple times and has served on it Board of Trustees.

Parneshia Jones is a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and the Margaret Walker Short Story Award, and is published in several anthologies including The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South; 44 on 44: 44 American Writers on the Election of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, and Poetry Speaks Who I Am, a book/CD compilation of classic and contemporary poetry.  Jones has is a member of the Affrilachian Poets, a collective of Black voices from Appalachia and has performed her work all over the United States.  In 2009, Parneshia was commissioned by Art for Humanity and the city of Chicago, to write a poem for an exhibition to be unveiled in Durban, South Africa during the 2010 World Cup. She is a Ragdale fellow and holds a M.F.A from Spalding University. She is currently working on a trilogy collection of persona poems.

Audrey Niffenegger trained as a visual artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and received her MFA from Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice. She has exhibited her artist’s books, prints, paintings, drawings and comics at Printworks Gallery in Chicago since 1987.  In 1997, while in residency at Ragdale, Niffenegger had an idea for a book about a time traveler and his wife. In 2003 she published The Time Traveler’s Wife, which has become an international best seller. Niffenegger’s second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, was published in 2009.  Recently she made a serialized graphic novel for the London Guardian called The Night Bookmobile, which will be published in book form in 2010. She is currently at work on a third novel, The Chinchilla Girl in Exile, and sits on Ragdale’s Board of Trustees.


Hosting over 200 emerging and established artists of all disciplines each year, Ragdale is an artists’ community that enriches the creative spirit and fosters artistic freedom. Built in 1897, Ragdale is located on the grounds of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s summer home in Lake Forest, IL. Today the historic, timeless, and tranquil environment provides a sanctuary for artists-in-residence to support the creation of important new work.

The Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women & Gender in the Arts & Media is a nationally-recognized creator of original works, whose unique programming on the discourse of gender, culture, creativity and community lends a remarkable lens to this event.  Established in March 2005 as one of twelve research centers at Columbia College Chicago, the Institute is the first of its kind in the nation dedicated to the creation of new works, scholarship, education and programming about women and gender in the arts and media. Key to its mission is supporting new research and original creative work through a robust Fellowship program.

$15/general admission
$12/WBEZ members
$10/students (with valid ID)

Click here to buy tickets

This event is presented in collaboration with:

Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media

And sponsored in-part by:

The Chicago Reader
Victory Gardens Theater

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